With the legalization of abortion in the U.S. in the Roe v. Wade decision, being identified as being pro-life has become synonymous with an anti-abortion stance, but when we consider what the Scriptures teach us about life, being pro-life is necessarily much more.
To understand the fullness of being pro-life, we have to look to several key biblical themes. First, God is the Author and Sustainer of life. Life is God’s alone to begin and end. As the Creator, He trusts us with protecting and caring for all of Creation. It is our responsibility to protect life as a loving response to Him, but we can’t ever confuse our stewardship of life with the ability to give life or the right to take life of our own initiative.
Second, people are made in God’s Image, so to properly honor God, we must take a special view of all people no matter whom they are or where they are. We are right to fight to protect the unborn because they are made in God’s Image, but we are no less obligated to battle to protect and care for the already-born.
Finally, the ultimate value of human life can be found in the gospel. God the Son became a man and fulfilled the work of redemption, and the price that was paid in Jesus establishes the proper worth of people. We treasure each other not so much because of our inherent merit but because of the unfathomable worth of Jesus.
At Lifeline Children’s Services, we come alongside the Body of Christ to strive to protect the unborn and to care for and shepherd the already born in ways that extend the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Lifeline began as a discipling extension of the crisis pregnancy movement. We serve from the conviction that all lives matter in an unplanned pregnancy: the child’s and the parents’, and we must minister to birthmoms and birthdads before, during, and after the pregnancy if we are fully respecting the sanctity of all human lives and reflecting the love of our Creator.
In pregnancy counseling, we present all of the life-giving options to women and the truth of the gospel to inform their decisions regarding their unborn child. We also commit to walk with birthparents through the difficulties and complexities of their lives with practical actions of hope and the offer of redemption found in the gospel.
Sadly, research indicates that many parents facing an crisis pregnancy choose abortion because they are unable or unprepared to parent. We believe that choosing life is always the right choice; however, the decision to choose life for a child is only the first of many crucial decisions to act in a child’s best interests. Many parents are committed to choosing life for their unborn child but are equally aware that they are not capable of parenting. Adoption is a courageous choice that honors the sanctity of the life of their child and sacrificially places the child’s best interests first.
In domestic adoption, Lifeline works with missional families who are committed to loving a child and leading that child to know and follow Jesus. We work with families through the process to be well equipped for the journey of adopting and to see open adoption not as a threat but rather as an opportunity to extend the influence of the gospel to their child’s birth parents.
In international adoption, Lifeline prepares missional Christian families for the journey of adopting a child who likely has faced much loss and difficulty and is yet to encounter some challenges as a result of coming from a hard place. Most of the children for whom adoption is appropriate are older, part of a large and complex sibling group, or has a special need. Because of their needs and the hurts they have experienced, families adopting these children must be ready for both joy and struggle. As a ministry, Lifeline wants to love, support, and equip families before, during, and after their actual journey to a child to position them to be part of their child’s healing and to disciple their child to know and follow Jesus.
Strategic Orphan Care
Of the orphaned and vulnerable children worldwide whom God has called His Church to care for, we estimate that less than .5% are adoptable. This means that for the overwhelming majority, we must find ways to care for them that are local and appropriate. Just like adoption is not the singular answer, no one solution will meet every child’s need.
Lifeline’s strategic orphan care ministry, (un)adopted®, is committed to connecting the Church among the nations to the Church in America to seek locally-based collaborative solutions that reach orphaned and vulnerable children with the hope of the gospel and equip them with the life skills needed to thrive as adults and to help them become disciple-makers themselves. Each partnership is unique to its context, but all bring life skills, job skills, and the gospel through equipping caregivers, fostering healthy development, and teaching core life skills that institutions commonly fail to accomplish.
It has been said, “People created institutions for children, but God made children for families.” Lifeline mobilizes the church to bring the gospel to bear in the lives of vulnerable and hurting families through family restoration.
For some families, poverty and social isolation mean that they have no support system and what seem not to be major difficulties can be debilitating. Children in these situations often suffer neglect or abuse; some eventually placed in state custody. Harbor Families™ is a church-based hosting program from Lifeline that provides a chance for parents to get back on their feet, to be connected with a community of support, and to point them toward Christ for their ultimate hope.
In other cases, state child welfare authorities become involved to protect children. Lifeline works with local churches to recruit, train, credential, and support foster families who enter the foster care system to provide safe, temporary, Christ-centered homes for children removed from the custody of their birth families. We also work with churches to make ministry plans to support foster families within the Body. In keeping with the gospel call to be engaged in the “ministry of reconciliation,” Lifeline also positions local churches to bring the gospel to bear with families who are seeking reunification with their children from state custody through Families Count™.
Through bringing the gospel to both children in care and families seeking reunification, Lifeline aids the church in being holistic in foster care ministry.
Counseling and Education
Lifeline is committed to preparing families and churches to meet the challenges that arise with caring for children coming from hard places through counseling and education. Through Crossings® training for international adoptive families, our annual conference for domestic adoptive families, and foster parent training, we provide families with the knowledge and skills required to a journey toward Christ with their children.
Additionally, we provide churches with complimentary training resources to equip the Body to care for children from difficult backgrounds and to support the families who love them. Equipped to Love is a 6-session video-based training resource to help church staff and volunteers understand trauma, neglect, and the special ministry adjustments needed to meet the needs of children who have come from a hard place. Also, our Adoptive and Foster Parent Connect Guide helps churches to support families through small group interaction with the Scriptures and with practical suggestions for parenting children who have experienced loss, trauma, and neglect.
Lifeline Counseling seeks to help families thrive and to serve families holistically; knowing that one part of the family impacts all of the others. Our therapists understand that adoption and foster care can be challenging and we want to help.
Lifeline Counseling provides individual (child, teen & adult), marriage, and family therapy to those pre-and post-adoption or currently with a foster placement.
Our therapists are attachment and equipped in trauma informed care, and each has received training in a variety of therapeutic approaches. At Lifeline, our therapists are grounded in the truth of the gospel and work to continually point clients towards Christ.
Lifeline is committed to equipping the Body of Christ holistically to care for vulnerable children and families, and we would love the opportunity to serve you. If you have questions about any of our ministry initiatives or would like to talk further about how Lifeline can help you in ministry to orphaned and vulnerable children, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rick Morton is the Vice President of Engagement for Lifeline Children’s Services. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Christian Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and has served local churches in Tennessee, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Notably, Rick is the co-author of the popular book Orphanology: Awakening to Gospel-centered Adoption and Orphan Care and the author of the recently released KnowOrphans: Mobilizing the Church for Global Orphanology. Rick and his lovely wife Denise have been married for over 20 years, and they have 3 children, all of whom joined their family through international adoption.